Category Archives: Online Resources

ResortsandLodges.com Releases Enhanced Website

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The past six months have been full of growth and development at ResortsandLodges.com. The company entered the online bookings segment of the travel industry with the release of the RALBook availability search in January. Now, to ensure that millions of travelers around the globe are enjoying their travel research, planning, and booking experience on our site, we have officially released the newest version of ResortsandLodges.com.

“Our goals with the newest website release centered around providing better traveler interaction and a better way to display information,” said Nic Regis, UI/UX Designer at ResortsandLodges.com. “We wanted the design to provide a solid medium that helps meet goals for both our business partners and millions of travelers who use our website to plan and book unique experiences.”

“We also kept our iPad and other tablet using travelers in mind, which is reflected in our larger image size and some of the more interactive features in the new release,” added Regis.

Enhanced Search Options

EnhancedRALSearch

Some of the most visible changes travelers may notice when they begin planning and researching their next trip on ResortsandLodges.com are the new enhanced search options.  In addition to using the classic ResortsandLodges map to search for their next vacation, travelers can also click into the individual resort type icons located below the map and search area as seen in the image above.

Check out what else is new on the enhanced ResortsandLodges.com Website.

ResortsandLodges Launches Enhanced Marketing Center

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ResortsandLodges.com recently launched its enhanced marketing center, making it easy for clients to track campaign performance, manage online reservations taken through the RALBook availability search, and ensure that the information on client business listings is up to date.

The new marketing center features simplified navigation, and within the Activity, Business Listings, and Reports tabs, ResortsandLodges.com clients have the opportunity to personalize their unique business listing, track campaign performance, and so much more! Here is a small sampling of what the new marketing center allows properties to do:

Real-Time Chat & Support
Benefit – Allows properties to quickly connect with knowledgeable customer support specialists.

Robust Lead Management Tools
Benefit – Allows property managers to quickly identify and connect with their hottest qualified leads.

Streamlined Account Management
Benefit – Update high-resolution images, video, deals, packages, and listing information all from one screen.

Online Bookings
Benefit – Properties can sync all of their available rooms through the RALBook availability search, as well as manage and approve reservations through their newly enhanced marketing center.

Travel Widgets

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Also new to the ResortsandLodges.com Marketing Center are website widgets available to display on a property’s homepage. If a property has been featured in any of our Top Lists, that property can attach a “Top Property” widget to their homepage. This is an easy way to show third-party validation as a top property, and links travelers back to the Top List in which a client is featured.

Similarly, the ResortsandLodges.com Traveler Rating Widget signifies that a client’s business listing has an average traveler rating of four stars or more (on a scale of five).

If you have a ResortsandLodges.com premium business listing, and would like to check out your enhanced Marketing Center, click here.

If you are interested in learning more about getting listed on ResortsandLodges.com, click here.

VRMA Trends: Q2 Rental Trends to Watch

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VRMA recently released its Q2 Vacation Rental Industry Trends for 2014, which focused on two new industry trends, as well as some nuances on trends already observed.

Consolidation
This was one of the new trends discussed in the quarterly review, but is certainly not a new concept in this segment of the hospitality industry.  HomeAway and TripAdvisor have been buying up smaller companies in the vacation rental space for years.  Their appetite for acquisitions is so insatiable that each company has its own page on Crunchbase dedicated to the topic. Continue reading

Survey Says: Top Vacation Rental Listing Sites

Listing Sites

As vacation rentals continue to grow as a vital segment of the travel and hospitality industries, it is important to gauge the feelings of rental owners and managers with regard to listing sites, that make it possible to showcase their properties to millions of travelers around the world.

In this vain, NeedMoreRentals.com carried out one of the largest independent surveys of holiday/vacation rental owners and managers relating to their use of popular listings sites.  The company surveyed 684 respondents in 47 countries.  Here are some of the finding from ‘Listings Sites – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly’.

Which listing sites are used by survey respondents?

  • A total of 102 listing sites were noted for marketing their properties.
  • The leading sites by overall numbers were HomeAway.com, VRBO, Airbnb, FlipKey, HolidayLettings, Booking.com, OwnersDirect, HomeAwayUK and House Trip.

On which sites do advertisers not complete listings and why?

  • The leading sites for incomplete listings are Airbnb, HomeAway, OnlyApartments, Booking.com, HouseTrip and Wimdu.
  • The main reasons for unfinished listings are that they are time-consuming, can be complicated, they are not free, they do not integrate with an owners calendar, and there is no help to list multiple properties.

What are the biggest concerns about listing sites?

  • The most common concerns owners and managers have with listing sites are spiraling cost, lack of enquiries, hidden guest details, payment not being received until after the guests’ arrival, and the listing process being too time-consuming.

To learn which listing sites provide the best level of customer service, produce the most leads, and which sites are not recommended for vacation rental owners and managers, click here.

The Nine Commandments of the Digital World in Hotels

9 Commandments

The travel industry is notorious for hiring within the industry when it comes to filling top jobs, often promoting from within or from a rival company.

So when Accor, one of the world’s leading hotel operators, decided to hire Vivek Badrinath as its deputy CEO earlier this year, it raised a few eyebrows.  Many industry experts were intrigued to know what the senior executive from the world of mobile phone networks would make of a sector as fragmented and complicated as hotels.

Badrinath was speaking last week at the PhoCusWright Europe event in Dublin, Ireland, showing how some of his digital expertise could be applied to a diverse (in terms of brands) and, essentially, human-led corner of the industry.

Badrinath discussed some interesting ideas about how the classic hotel chain should be positioned to cater for the digitally savvy – and mobile-wielding – traveler.  He also gave event attendees his Nine Commandments of the Digital World for his new company.

Tnooz broke Accor’s nine commandments down, and gave some insight as to how they apply to hoteliers and property managers around the world.  Here is a small sampling: Continue reading

ADI Projects $61 Billion in Online Summer Travel Bookings

Social media
After a brutal winter and a bad case of cabin fever, it looks like Americans are ready to hit the road this summer.  Adobe Digital Index’s (ADI) “Travel 2014 Report” predicts that online travel bookings will reach $61 billion between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a 15% increase year-over-year.

The report is built on consumer data from Adobe Analytics brand sites from 2012 to 2014, and the sample information involved includes more than 33 billion visits to 1,300 branded travel websites.

ADI found that smartphone bookings are up a whopping 121% since January 2013.  During the same period, bookings via gaming consoles are up 60%, and tablet bookings are up 48%.

“Travel companies – online travel agencies, airlines, hotels – have done a much better job of extending the booking capability of their mobile applications and making their websites more mobile-friendly, which is increasing the amount of online bookings,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at ADI.

Despite the growth of mobile devices within the travel industry, the PC still has the largest share of online bookings, taking in 86% of the share.  Tablets have the largest share of mobile-device bookings, at just 10%.

To read more about the more summer booking trends, and to read the full ADI Travel 2014 Report, click here.

Turning Hotel Initiatives Into Social Media Contests

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Social media plays a critical role in the way hotels and unique properties around the world market their product online.  These channels can be used as a mobile/online concierge, as a forum to discuss positive or negative experiences, or as a means to communicate with travelers before, during, and after they stay.

Advertising deals is another way that social media channels are used, but properties must be careful not to be selling hard at all times through these channels, as it will likely turn of traveler engagement.  Here are a few examples of properties that have turned social engagement into great ways to sell their deals and packages. Continue reading

Digital Ad Spending in Travel Jumps

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While some experts ponder whether Google is ready to make an even bigger splash in the travel industry, a recent eMarketer study highlighted a big reason why the search engine giant is content with its current role.  Digital ad spending by the US travel industry will reach $4.15 billion in 2014, a sharp increase over 2013’s numbers ($3.42 billion) that reflects the improving health of the overall US economy and rising profits in the industry. Continue reading